The Jane Effect
What’s possible when a community unites for a common cause?  

On October 27th, Margie Sherlock and an enthusiastic team of friends and family ran a 5K Race at Washington County Agricultural Center in  Hagerstown, Maryland. The race was planned as a fundraiser to support  medical research and the mission of FIRST, as Margie’s daughter, Jane, is affected with Harlequin ichthyosis

“Cousins, friends, everyone just kept coming up with ideas,” Katie Burden (Margie’ sister) said during a recent visit to the FIRST office.  “And our family, luckily, is very competitive!”   When family and friends first learned of the upcoming Jane’s 5K Race for a Cure, and the fact that an online service was being utilized to accept registrations and donations (, it was as if a fundraising wildfire broke out across the Delaware Valley and beyond.  Jane had inspired hundreds of people to roll up their sleeves, get involved…and give. 

The family began promoting the 5K back in August 2013. “We mostly just posted about it on Facebook with a link to,” said Margie. “So, I would say it was all really word-of-mouth. Then people started posting all sorts of online fundraisers for Jane’s 5K. Some even sold gifts and baked good items at the race to raise money. It was unbelievable. And we are so incredibly grateful to everyone.  We’d actually raised over $70,000 dollars before the race even began, and then another nearly $30,000 at the race, and even after.”

It seems Jane had inspired anyone she touched. In addition to the registrations for Jane’s 5K itself, fundraising activities included: Facebook Cakepop Giveaway and Fragrant Gift Set Giveaway, Janie’s Angel hats, t-shirts and bracelets, an online auction for gift baskets and purses, and the many generous donations from a warm and compassionate community.

The afternoon of the race itself, attended by over 150 runners, was not only filled with running, but with hugs, laughter, Elvis, and a good share of shenanigans as this is a community of people that, admittedly, likes to have fun. “Jane felt like a celebrity and started to charge twenty dollars for autographs,” said Margie. “She raised quite a few dollars just signing t-shirts!” 

When a community unites for a common cause, it appears that anything is possible. In total, the race registrations, and all of the fundraising activities raised $100,000 for FIRST, a record-breaking amount of money in our 32-year history of grassroots fundraising!

But no matter how big or small your event, your community, or your donations, always remember every single penny counts. For more information about how you can create your own grassroots fundraising event, contact



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